Burbank neighborhood petitions to keep Pickwick Gardens from becoming apartments

Monday, September 25, 2017 11:44PM
A petition is circulating in a Burbank neighborhood to keep a community landmark from becoming an apartment complex.


BURBANK, Calif. - A petition is circulating in a Burbank neighborhood to keep a community landmark from becoming an apartment complex.

The petition has more than 12,000 signatures, and Burbank Rancho neighbors are working to get more.

One of those people is Hector Aguilar. On most days in the fall, you can hear him and his horse coming from a mile away. Even in a sea of red and gold at the Coliseum, he's not hard to spot.

"I portray Tommy Trojan. I ride Traveler for USC. All the home games and all of that," he said. "When you're out there riding and you hear like 90,000 people screaming and all that - it's quite a thrill."

Aguilar makes his living working with horses. But he tells us the community near his Burbank stable is in jeopardy. The well-known Pickwick Gardens, a community landmark, could be rezoned for housing.

Pickwick Gardens is home to ice skating, bowling and other events. Changes to the land wouldn't take away the over 50 miles of assigned horse trails in the area known as Burbank Rancho, but neighbors said it will greatly increase traffic. That is why they organized a petition to stop it.

"The more traffic the more the horses are being pushed out, and it's scary as a rider to have so much traffic," said Pamela Cooper, a horse owner and longtime resident.

The proposal for a new and different Pickwick Gardens is personal for horse owners, and it's personal for the owners of Pickwick Gardens, too.

"It's emotional because of where we started in the 50s. My dad worked here, I worked here. I have a son and a daughter that work here," Ron Stavert said.

The family business is not what it used to be and Stavert said his family is considering several options -- including a residential village.

"We've seen the best of Pickwick maybe over the years. And the future is uncertain and what we're attempting to consider are alternatives," he said.

Stavert said nothing is set in stone, but they have been working on this plan since last October. Aguilar hopes this fall won't be the year the seasons of change bring a new Burbank Rancho.

"It'd be tough to see it go and disappear," Aguilar said.

For more information about the redevelopment plans, click here.
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